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Why You Need to Embrace Being Alone

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“What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.” -Ellen Burstyn

Why You Should Embrace Being AloneOur generation is filled with people who are so afraid of being alone. It’s filled with people who don’t know how to be alone. We often think that solitude equates to loneliness, which is far from the truth.

In high school, I was scared of being alone too. In an environment that celebrates extroversion and deeply misconstrues the opposite, I struggled with my own introverted tendencies. I thought there was something wrong with me when I preferred to go home and read a book while my friends were going out and seemingly making the most of their high school lives.

I quickly learned that my time spent alone was putting me miles ahead of my peers. I gained wisdom and an understanding of myself and the world around me that was noticeable to others. Solitude gave me the opportunity to think, reason, and discover myself in ways that couldn’t be possible if I was constantly interacting with people. This doesn’t mean that I never go out and never socialize– it just means that I value alone-time and thrive during these periods.

There are so many benefits that come with being alone. Even if you’re an extrovert who may not need alone-time to recharge, learning how to spend time with yourself can improve your relationship with yourself and others. I’m here to teach you how alone-time can ultimately help you, and how to embrace it without fear.

Being Alone Built My Confidence

Here’s the thing, if you’re sitting in your bedroom or house alone, you have nobody to socialize with except your conscience. You can finally hear yourself think, and for some, this is scary. You learn who you really are when all of those external influences fall away.

Being alone forces you to accept yourself, quirks and all, because everyone wants to enjoy their company.

It won’t happen immediately, but the more you get to spend time with yourself, the more you’ll become comfortable in your own skin. Your worst critic is yourself, and if you can please that one, your confidence will skyrocket. As a result, people will gravitate more to you simply because of your positive demeanor.

The nights in high school that I spent alone, I became more and more me. I learned what being an introvert meant and that it was okay to be one. I dove headfirst into creative adventures, and I was amazed by the many talents and strengths that presented themselves to me. I’m much more confident in my abilities. I love hanging out with myself because my own thoughts and revelations make me a very entertaining companion.

When you learn to appreciate yourself, the self that comes from the inside and isn’t influenced by your peers, you have won life.

There is nothing you can’t do when you reach a deep level of self-awareness and allow it to manifest externally.

This is important especially if you’re going into college for the first time. I expanded on the significance of self-awareness and how it relates to your next 4 years of college here.

I Stopped Being Reliant On Others for Happiness

Fact: You will never be lonely if you know how to be alone.

I have lots of friends who can’t stand being by themselves for more than a few hours. If they are, they feel friendless and become miserable.

This kind of lifestyle isn’t sustainable. Unless you force your friends to abandon their lives and stay in a giant house with you, at some point or another you will be left alone.

If you know how to entertain yourself, you will never have to be reliant on others’ presence for your happiness again.

Friends are amazing to have and to be around, but they have their own stuff going on. They won’t always be accessible to you.Why You Need to Love Being Alone

I stopped listening to the voice in my mind that told me I wasn’t a “normal” teenager if I wasn’t constantly surrounded by my peers.

I stopped feeling the need to fit in. I never succumbed to peer pressure because I wasn’t desperate for friendship.

This allowed me to form quality relationships instead of worrying about the quantity.

If you’re someone who is a serial dater (gets in relationships after just leaving one), or always needs social interaction to feel whole, I seriously recommend practicing being alone. You’ll be so much happier once you realize that you can be whole on your own.

I Became Smarter and More Creative

Statistically, you work better alone. Without the judgement of your peers or social pressure to conform, you are likely to become more creative. You’re free to discover and try new things. And, if you mess up? No one is watching! Boredom breeds creativity, and when you’re alone, you will get bored. That’s when you really start to have fun. One day I was bored, so I started playing piano again. I drew cool stuff, I wrote, I started a blog.

I was able to tap into a reserve of creativity that I had no idea was hiding there. 

“People who do a job that claims to be creative have to be alone to recharge their batteries. You can’t live 24 hours a day in the spotlight and remain creative. For people like me, solitude is a victory.” -Karl Lagerfeld

I also found myself becoming smarter. When you’re interacting with someone, you’re taking in so much information, but you don’t really get to process it. When I got time to myself, I could analyze and notice so much more about my surroundings.

You will gain a perspective that is like looking in on the world from the outside.

You’ll be able to make strong decisions and judgements from a logical standpoint rather than letting circumstances control you.

You’d be surprised how much your brain can do without the distraction of others’ presence and own ideas.

How to Be Alone

Now that you’re sold (hopefully), you’re probably wondering how you can maximize the benefits of your alone-time. I’m going to discuss some of the things I like to do when I’m alone. That being said, I encourage you to come up with your own activities and do things that you love because that’s the best way to grow.

Disclaimer: Don’t become a hermit. You do still need to go outside, and social interaction is important. Just to clarify.

Read Substantial Books:

Lately I’ve been interested in self-help and Philosophy books. I’ve started to stray away from fiction books because they can get repetitive especially in the Young Adult genre. Instead of switching between Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat every 3 seconds, I try (keyword being try) to pick up a book instead. Books are hands down better sources to build up your brain than social media. Find ones that will challenge you in some way (intellectually, emotionally, etc).

Start a New Project:

I am the master of starting new things and abandoning them. That’s okay, though. I still learn a lot in the process even if I don’t quite get to the end. Start projects, dive headfirst in them, and enjoy every moment. Find out what you love, and what you’re not so good at. You’ll discover and build your strengths here.

Have a Sense of Adventure:

Let yourself get bored, then battle the boredom. I mean, come on. We have the world at our fingertips, you can learn anything, do anything, and be anything all by yourself. If you’re bored for more than an hour, you’re not doing life right. Social Tip: If you bore yourself you probably bore other people. So once you learn how to be interesting on your own, people will find you interesting too.

Relax:

People often use their alone-time to simply chill out. This is an effective way to rebuild your energy and sense of balance. Watch Netflix, take a nap, have a luxurious bath, or journal. Take part in activities that center and calm you.

Go Out By Yourself:

This is probably the scariest part of learning how to be alone. Going to events by yourself can make you feel a little awkward and a little self-conscious. You might think that everyone notices that you’re alone, but in reality nobody cares. Go to a movie or café by yourself. You might meet new people who you would otherwise have never gotten to talk to if your friends were around.

In a society thats full of people who fear themselves, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. I challenge you to unabashedly become your best friend, to love who you are inside and out. Do something different. What is life worth if it’s spent doing what literally everyone else is doing? Remember, being alone is not lonely if you enjoy the company you’re with.

Cherish being alone, because that’s where you are truly free.

So, tell me: How do you like to spend time alone? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

July 29, 2016
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“Purpose”: Stop Looking For It

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You Don't Need A Purpose

YOU DON’T NEED A PURPOSE

I think we should stop being so obsessed with finding our purpose. I get that, as humans, we crave order and reliability. We love to ask questions like “why am I here?” and “what the hell am I supposed to be doing?” And we embark on this lifelong journey to achieve fulfillment by trying to find that one purpose in life. That trek is a road filled with existential crises and freak outs about our value and future.

There are a lot of resources out in the world dedicated to helping people find their purpose. They’ll tell you to fill out workbooks filled with vague questions about yourself or to just “listen to your  heart” and your whole life’s worth and direction shall be determined. Then you think you’ve got a defective heart or something because it seems pretty quiet in there.

Here’s why a life purpose might not be so apparent to you:

The average millennial has been brought up in an environment where having multiple skills, interests, and passions are highly encouraged. The chances that you’ll have just one passion that you can see yourself subscribing to for the rest of your life are slim to none. If you’re having trouble finding a purpose, it most likely means you’re good at a lot of things and should dedicate yourself to pursuing excellence in all of them.

Your reason for being on this earth isn’t a treasure to discover with an invisible map, nor is your purpose something that will appear to you one day in a ball of fairy dust.

We are putting way too much weight on the idea of having a purpose. To have one grand reason for living is some pretty narrow tunnel vision right there. We are capable of so much, and I think if there was any one, true purpose, it would be to seek out all of the things we’re great at. To force ourselves to subscribe to one life journey would be selling ourselves short.

Having one purpose doesn’t really allow for growth either. In the same way that the people you might have dated as a teenager are drastically different than the ones you’re attracted to as an adult, your motivation for living and your purpose will change as you grow up. We will have numerous “purposes” throughout life, and none of them are as predictable, noticeable, or life-altering as you think they might be. We don’t need to stress about centering our lives around one thing to make it worthy or important, that is definitely not the meaning of life.

While purposes are fleeting and fragile concepts, there should be constants in our life that we can always depend on. As new passions and dreams are constantly found, you can rely on your motivation and ambition to remain strong. Where one specific purpose might be lacking, drive should always be present. That way, you can make sure that in your pursuit of making your dreams come true, you’ll reach for the stars and make sure you grab them. Whatever grand schemes your net might catch, you will always be prepared to follow through with them.

Unless your heart suddenly grows a mouth and let’s you in on what you’re supposed to be doing, don’t let anybody or anything tell you why you are here. What makes life meaningful is how eagerly you attempt to actualize the dreams you come up with and how much fun you have doing it.

-Lots of Love, Lola

July 12, 2016
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How to Create a Morning Routine for Productivity

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How to Establish a Productive Morning Routine

Before I started my blog, I never had any semblance of a morning routine. I was easily distracted by things that were time-wasters like social media or even just lying in bed for more time than was needed. Since I’ve started Macarons in the Morning, I’ve seen a need to establish a more concrete routine to maximize my productivity and complete my goals faster. I found that I was more creative and motivated in the early hours, so I set up a morning routine rather than an afternoon or evening one. With my routine I have become a more balanced, centered, and productive person.

WHY YOU NEED A MORNING ROUTINE

  • A morning routine works with the natural tendencies of our bodies and minds. The mind loves structure and pattern. Our brains work best when they know what to expect. When we know what’s coming up, we can prepare appropriately, and make the most of the event. To contrast, when our next action is undetermined, we waste an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what to do, how to carry out the action, and only think about how we could’ve been more efficient after the fact. With a routine, we’ve totally skipped the middle man and can jump right into the efficiency and productivity part.
  • You’ve accomplished something before your day has even started. Don’t you just love crossing things off of a to-do list? A morning routine is like a daily to-do list full of things you actually enjoy doing and that you can cross off before it’s lunch time. Having a sense of accomplishment can help your mood and set a confident, grateful attitude for the rest of the day.
  • You live with purpose. A theme that’s gone viral this year is intentional living. Often coupled with a minimalistic lifestyle, living intentionally means applying purpose behind your actions. When you develop your personal morning routine, each part of the routine has a specific purpose. You will feel more accomplished and fulfilled when you’ve completed goals that have meaning behind them. Into-Mind has a great graphic of how you can have a more full life by living with intention and breaking down bigger and more abstract goals by establishing manageable daily habits.

MYTHS ABOUT ROUTINES

  • They’re too strict and don’t allow for spontaneity. Routines can be as broad or as down to the very second as you want them to be. For the more free-spirited mind, a more general morning routine with looser time slots (or no time slots at all!) might be better fitting. It’s all about completing the things you want in an orderly fashion, and making productivity a habit. Life will always bring its spontaneity. I promise, surprises will never be scarce.
  • They stifle creativity. While this is a highly debated topic, I’d definitely say that my morning routine has increased my creativity. Allotting a time to sit down and create something has been a lot like going to the gym everyday and working out. It’s gotten easier and easier to come up with cool stuff the more I train myself to work that creative muscle. And, of course, if I have ideas throughout the day, I won’t shut my brain off and say “ah ah ah, it’s not creativity time!” I simply jot down the ideas in my notes app or in my Moleskine and work on them when I have time.

How to Establish a Productive Morning Routine

HOW TO CREATE YOUR ROUTINE

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. A few things you should keep in mind when creating a routine:

  1. Have a goal in mind. It can be as abstract or as specific as you want. And you can have multiple. My main goals for the morning are to get as much creative work done for my blog as possible, enrich my body by working out or eating a good breakfast, and enrich my mind by allotting time to read a novel, journal, or catch up on the news.
  2. Keep your priorities straight. Every list of goals has a hierarchy. Prioritize the ones that are most important to you. They don’t necessarily have to come first, but you should spend the most effort and time on them. Blogging is a huge priority in my life and I spend hours on it. I start my blogging duties last because I often go well into the afternoon with it, but getting started in the morning assures that I will get something done.

Now, it’s time to ask yourself some questions. Once you have your goals set, you need to figure out which order they should go in, and where daily chores might fit best into your routine. Your routine should have a natural flow of events.

  1. What is the best time for me to wake up? Does this allow enough time to complete my routine?
  2. Does the first thing I do after I wake up center me and prepare me for the upcoming events of the day?
  3. Have I taken care of chores and daily necessities like eating breakfast and getting dressed that could later become distractions?
  4. Have I allotted time for reflection, self-enrichment, and goal planning? 
  5. Have I broken down the more abstract goals into achievable daily goals?
  6. How and when am I most productive? Am I completing the most important parts of my morning at that time?

The best way to start and stick to a routine is to do a little at a time. And don’t be afraid to mend it as time goes on. Your morning routine should be something that you enjoy and find useful. If it ever becomes a burden or you find that it doesn’t work with how you naturally function, make changes.

PRODUCTIVITY TIPS

  • Delayed Gratification: There is nothing that will make me work faster to finish a task than if I know a box of macarons or a Gilmore Girls marathon is waiting for me at the end of the finish line. Setting up a reward system, whether it be earning a 30 minute break or a yummy snack after a tedious task, can make you more productive because there’s an incentive involved.
  • Work with Yourself: At certain times of the day, I just can’t work up the energy to get a task done. And that’s totally fine. When it comes to creativity or putting out great content, I never want it to be forced or for it to become a chore that I don’t love. Learn how to work your mind. Identify the times you work best, and make the most of it, and don’t punish yourself for the times where you aren’t at your best.
  • A Cluttered Space is a Cluttered Mind: People underestimate the influence that the physical world has on their ability to work. If your work area is a total mess, your brain can easily become overwhelmed and distracted. Make sure your space is organized before you start your work. You’ll be a lot more focused when there isn’t all kinds of displaced items scattered around you.
  • Understand the Why: When working towards a very large goal, there are a lot of laborious steps in between that tire us out and can sometimes cause us to lose sight of the big picture. Once you’ve broken down your big goal into smaller goals, always remember to put purpose behind them. No matter how small, how annoying, or how tedious it can be, keep in mind the why and it will become much easier to complete the task.

Your routine can be adapted for nighttime as well, and I encourage you to develop one for whichever time of day you see fit.


So Tell Me: What’s your favorite part of your morning routine? Answer in the comments below!

-Lots of Love, Lola

July 8, 2016
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Friends Can Be Your Biggest Assets

It’s easy to underestimate the influence that your friends can have on you. We sometimes forget that our friendships can serve as another rung in the ladder towards achieving our dreams. In a generation of entrepreneurs, hustlers, and professional risk-takers, we should start considering the people we keep close to us as assets to our business and life goals. How Friends Can Be Your Biggest Assets

If you take a good look at who you keep in your circle, what is their general makeup? I recommend having some friends who are as ambitious and inspired as you. Having friends that you can be constantly discussing, dreaming, and bouncing off ideas with will carry you much farther towards self-improvement than you know.
For example, I have a group of friends who all bring some level of excellence to the table. We’re big on academia, some of us are great creative thinkers, others are political buffs, and all of us are social justice participants. Together, we have deeply profound discussions about topics like current events and politics, philosophical and psychological questions, and our next big ideas and goals. Despite the occasional debates that turn into arguments, I always leave feeling more inspired, more educated, and a more enlightened person. I don’t think I would’ve gotten the idea to restart my blog without seeing a new creative spark in my friend at the discovery of writing poetry.
Having people around you who perform on the same wavelength as you, who want to reach the same level of success as you and who will encourage you to do the same are powerful.

A relationship like this takes a good amount of intellectual confidence on your part to get the most out of it. Your friends might excel in areas where you have room for improvement.  If you want to benefit from a friendship like How Friends Can Be Your Biggest Assetthat there is no space to be insecure about yourself. Their expertise and ambition in their skill set should inspire you to reach that same level in your own endeavors. And you will motivate them as well! That is how these friendships will push you towards greatness.

Similarly, I wouldn’t rely too much on friends who lack your same spirit and ambition. It’s easy to be dragged down by these types, and it will be a little bit harder to work for your goals if nobody else around you is doing the same. They might be great for emotional support, comic relief, and all of the great things that come with friendships, but it’s important to keep in mind that they are not on the same path as you.

When meeting new friends or evaluating the ones you currently have, always consider who will help you become a person you can fall in love with. It comes down to having a healthy balance of friends who just make you feel better and friends who actually make you better.

-Lots of Love, Lola

 

June 28, 2016
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Why You Should Be Blogging as a Millennial

Posted in Lifestyle, Mind by

Why You Should Be Blogging As A Millennial

I’ve been blogging on and off for about 4 years now. I’ve done everything from fiction writing to lifestyle to fashion, and finally college/lifestyle blogging. No matter how far I stray from blogging, something always draws me back.

If you’re a millennial, which is loosely defined as someone born anywhere from the 1980s to the 2000s, I seriously recommend blogging as a creative outlet. There are truly an infinite amount of positive outcomes that are a direct result of establishing a presence online.

DEVELOP A VOICE

Whether you’re 17 or 47, you have a voice, an extremely important one, too. Opinions originating from our age group are very easily trivialized by those who are older and seemingly “wiser” than us. Writing online and speaking up through blogs and other mediums have allowed millennials to be heard. Once you start blogging, you might have the power to influence thousands! Seize the opportunity to share your perspective on the world. We’re listening.

GAIN CONFIDENCE

It can be a little scary putting yourself out there at first. But, once you do, I promise your confidence will skyrocket. Your blog is a safe space where you can allow yourself to flourish. And yes, you might be a little anxious knowing that it’s a public space, but I strongly believe that if you can overcome this obstacle, you can overcome just about anything that threatens your confidence.

Putting together an entire blog with content that you’re proud of can do miracles for the mind. It’s a great feeling getting positive feedback from your blogging peers, and even greater being able to look at something you created with pride and knowing that it was all you. You’ll learn to trust yourself and your abilities more than most people. This will help you in school, the workforce, and many other areas.

Why You Should Be Blogging as a Millennial

LEARN RELEVANT COMPUTER SKILLS

If you truly invest in your blog, it becomes almost necessary to pick up a few HTML and CSS skills along the way. Additionally, you’ll learn all about typography, a bit about aesthetics, and photography. Needless to say, my school projects were always amazing because of this. And, you won’t be alone! There are tons of blogs out there that are dedicated to helping you figure this stuff out. Station Seven is my go to blog for all of the behind the scenes work that goes on in my blog. In this day and age, these skills are invaluable and you might just become a rare commodity in your workplace or class.

CONNECT WITH OTHERS

When I first started fiction blogging the summer before my Freshman year, I didn’t anticipate meeting my absolute best friends. I met some pretty incredible girls from across the United States. Two were right in my state, Texas, but 2 hours away in Austin (yes, I have visited them a few times). One was also in Las Vegas, another in California, and the last in Virginia. We probably have a world record for most texts sent in a group message. I don’t think I would’ve made it to where I am today at all without the connections I’ve made through blogging. These girls encouraged me, pushed me, and supported me through everything. You’ll find these friendships in the blogosphere, too. It’s full of people ready to meet new people. I think this opportunity is something that will only appear in this environment. You won’t make priceless relationships around the world with a click of a button anywhere else.


Are you sold yet? I hope so! In short, I really really want you to get into blogging if you’ve ever considered it. Take a leap, I promise you’ll make it. If you want to make a blog right now, check out Station Seven’s post on starting your blog(without all of the rookie mistakes).

My best advice: Don’t ever let blogging become a burden. Do it because you want to, and because it’s fun for you. A lifetime worth of memories are in store for you if you follow this rule.

-Lots of Love, Lola

 

June 22, 2016
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